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Legal Malpractice Appellate Court Opinion

by Mazur, Catherine

 

AC38128 - Kuehl v. Koskoff ("Except in obvious situations, expert testimony generally is required to establish the element of causation in a legal malpractice case. See Bozelko v. Papastavros, 323 Conn. 275, 284–85, 147 A.3d 1023 (2016). 'Because a determination of what result should have occurred if the attorney had not been negligent usually is beyond the field of ordinary knowledge and experience possessed by a juror, expert testimony generally will be necessary to provide the essential nexus between the attorney's [alleged] error and the plaintiff's damages.' Id., 285.

"In this legal malpractice action, the defendants, Rosalind J. Koskoff and the law firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, P.C., appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered, after a jury trial, in favor of the plaintiff, Sylvia N. Kuehl. To summarize, this protracted litigation concerns the plaintiff's contention that the defendants breached the duty of care they owed her during their representation of her in an underlying personal injury action involving her late husband, Guenther Kuehl (decedent), when the defendants failed to file a claim for survivor's benefits under our Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., within a year of his death. At trial, the defendants claimed that the plaintiff failed to prove the proximate cause element of a negligence cause of action because she failed to present expert testimony that, more likely than not, she would have been awarded survivor's benefits under the act if the defendants had submitted her claim. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court improperly denied their motion for a directed verdict, motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and motion to set aside the verdict. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.")